Why the Teleology of Marriage Matters to Law
What is at stake in the conversation over same-sex marriage is competing definitions of marriage.
One good argument for same-sex marriage depends on a definition that came to prominence after the sexual revolution. A different understanding of marriage was prominent in the nineteenth century, and this shows that Obergefell was wrongly decided, at least as far as Originalist understandings of law are concerned.
Accordingly, the nature, purpose, and function of marriage, and what people think of them, are important for understanding the requirements of Constitutional law.
The teleology of marriage is a topic philosophers and theologians are well suited to study, and thus philosophy and theology have much to contribute to the study of law and to all the other disciplines interested in marriage.
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This paper is also part of the ongoing EPS web project, “Philosophical Discussions on Marriage and Family.”